Homeland Magazine July 2021

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Vol. 10 Number 7 • JuLY 2021

Homeland M A G A Z I NE

YOUR MONTH OF

INDEPENDENCE What’s Next

Freedom from Transition Stress

MENTAL HEALTH

Benefits of Laughter in the Workplace

Bonding Together for Independence

CAREER Resources

MUSIC

HEALTHCARE MENTORSHIP LinkedIn Tips

The Universal Healer

Painting Brings Joy to Severely Injured Warrior & His Wife

Careers In Law Enforcement

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PTSD COACH PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault. More than half of individuals experience at least one trauma in their lives. The National Center for PTSD offers FREE, confidential mobile apps that provide help, education, and support related to mental health.

Download PTSD Coach to:

Learn about PTSD and available treatments Track your PTSD symptoms over time Practice relaxation, mindfulness, and other stress-management exercises Grow your support network Access crisis resources

bit.ly/PTSDTreatmentWorksHomeland

PTSD Coach is not meant to replace professional care.

Search “PTSD Coach”

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EDITOR’S

LETTER

Publisher Editor-In-Chief Mike Miller mikemiller@HomelandMagazine.com

Contributing Writers Holly Shaffner Veteran Advocate

RanDee McLain, LCSW A Different Lens

Jenny Lynne Stroup Real Talk: Mental Health

Vicki Garcia

Enlisted to Entrepreneur

CJ Machado

SD Vets & Homeland Photojournalist

Kelly Bagla, Esq. Legal Eagle

Tana Landau, Esq. Legally Speaking

Joe Molina

Veterans Chamber of Commerce

Eve Nasby

www.HomelandMagazine.com

What’s Next - Transitioning

Amber Robinson Arts & Healing

Eva Stimson Greetings and a warm welcome to Homeland Magazine!

Veteran Advocate

Please take some time to get to know the layout of our magazine. The Magazine focuses on national resources, support, community, and inspiration for our veterans and the military families that keep it together.

Human Resources

Our magazine is driven by passion, vision, reflection and the future. The content is the driving force behind our magazine and the connection it makes with our veterans, service members, military families, and civilians. The magazine is supported by a distinguishing list of national veteran organizations, resource centers, coalitions, veteran advocates, and more. We are honored to share the work of so many committed and thoughtful people. Homeland Magazine is a veterans magazine for veterans by veterans. We appreciate your support and are so happy to have you as a reader of Homeland Magazine.

Mike Miller

Publisher/Editor mikemiller@HomelandMagazine.com 4

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Paul Falcone

Money Matters VA Lending & Personal Finance

Collaborative Organizations Wounded Warrior Project Rachel Bolles Disabled American Veterans American’s Warrior Partnership * Including National Veteran Organizations, Advocates & Guest Writers

Homeland Magazine 9528 Miramar Road, Suite 41 San Diego, CA 92126

(858) 275-4281 Contact Homeland Magazine at: info@homelandmagazine.com


JULY

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

6 We The People - Independence Day 8 Displaying Old Glory 9 American Pie 10 Warrior Foundation Freedom Station 12 Veterans: Outreach and Engagement 15 A Paratrooper’s Pain 16 Painting Brings Joy to Warrior 20 Real Talk: Bonding Together 22 Arts & Healing - Music, the Universal Healer 24 LENS: CHANGE 26 Your Month of Independence 28 Healthcare Careers - A Perfect Fit 30 Mentorship that Matters 32 Vouch4Vets 34 What’s Next: Freedom from Transition Stress 36 HR - Laughter in the Workplace 38 LinkedIn Tips 40 Veterans Chamber: Social Media 42 Legal Eagle: What is Copyright? 44 Financial Independence After Divorce 46 Money: Booming Housing Market 52 Careers In Law Enforcement

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Independence Day

Independence Day Facts • The original copy of the Declaration is housed in the National Archives in Washington, D.C. and July 4 has been designated a national holiday to commemorate the day the United States

Independence Day is annually celebrated on July 4 and is often known as “the Fourth of July”. It is the anniversary of the publication of the declaration of independence from Great Britain in 1776. Patriotic displays and family events are organized throughout the United States.

• Independence Day 2015 is the 239th Independence Day. • 56 People signed the Declaration of Independence.

On July 4th, 1776 the United States laid down its claim to be a free and independent nation by adopting the Declaration of Independence. Today, Independence Day is celebrated and honored in many forms such as fireworks, BBQs and parades. It is an opportunity for Americans to express patriotism and love of country including reflecting on the sacrifices from those in the military.

• John Hancock was the first signer and famously had the largest signature. • In July 1776 there were an estimated 2.5 million people living in the Colonial United States. • Currently there are approximately 316 million Americans. • The Declaration of Independence was revised 86 times.

Independence Day History

• The first Independence Day was celebrated on July 8, 1776.

On June 11th, 1776 the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia to formally sever ties with Great Britain. Thomas Jefferson, who considered an esteemed writer, was selected to draft the document. After 86 revisions and on July 4th, 1776 the Continental Congress signed the final version.

• Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on the Fourth of July, 1826.

Things to do on the Fourth of July • Barbecue with friends and family • Watch a fireworks show • Go to a blockbuster movie release • Have a block party • Light some fireworks (safely & legally of course) • Attend a baseball game • Find water – Boating, beaching and water skiing • Rent a 4th of July themed movie • Find a National Park hosting a July 4th event

The first readings of the document included ringing of bells and band music. The following Fourth of July Congress was adjourned in Philadelphia and everybody celebrated with bells, bonfires and fireworks. Soon these customs spread to other areas within the 13 colonies and new customs began to develop such as picnics, speeches, games, military displays and of course fireworks. These traditions continued for almost a century before Congress finally established Independence Day as a holiday.

Patriotic Things to do on the Fourth of July • Fly the American Flag • Wear Red, White and Blue • Volunteer to help our veterans • Take a trip to a special fort, park or monument near you. • Go to a Fourth of July celebration • Attend a Revolutionary War reenactment • Send Letters, Care Packages, and Other Ways to Support the Military

Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration states, “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness….”

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Do’s and Don’ts for Displaying Old Glory BY SUSAN H. LAWSON

This week, American flags will be displayed across the nation in celebration of the Independence Day holiday. Following a few guidelines can ensure we are displaying Old Glory properly. In 1923, the U.S. National Flag Code was created and distributed nationwide. The code became Public Law in 1942 and became the U.S. Flag Code we know today. The U.S. Flag Code lays out the ways to display and respect the flag of the United States.

Other Do’s and Don’ts: • Clean and damage-free flags should always be used. Dirty, ripped, wrinkled or frayed flags should not be used. Also, when flags are damaged, they should be destroyed in a dignified manner.

For example:

• The U.S. flag should flow freely in the wind or in a lobby with a passing breeze as people walk past. Stretching a flag is a lot like walking around with your arms held out straight. It is not to be held captive by metal arm spreaders as if to say, “Look at me!”

• The flag should not be on display outdoors during bad weather.

• Staffs and finials should always be upright and not leaning.

• The flag should not be used for advertising purposes, or embroidered on cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins or boxes.

• Clamping a U.S. flag to a vehicle’s antenna is acceptable, or the flagstaff clamped to the right fender, as long as the flag displays in the proper direction.

• The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding or drapery. • It should never be displayed upside down unless trying to convey a sign of distress or great danger. • The flag should never touch anything beneath it; this includes water, merchandise and even the floor. • When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag’s own right, that is, to the observer’s left. When displayed in a window, the flag should be displayed in the same way, with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street.

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• Service flags are displayed in order of service precedence, not the host service where they are displayed. The order of precedence is Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. • When displaying the U.S. flag with other flags, the U.S. flag comes first and is centered in the middle of a flag display. In addition, the U.S. flag must be placed higher than the other flags, unless other national flags are present. In that case the U.S. flag would be the same height. • Buntings are a good way to display the national colors and decorate for Independence Day without discrediting the U.S. flag.


What’s So American About Apple Pie? The grill glows hot, the beer is on ice, and the fireworks are ready to burst. Fourth of July is a holiday celebrated through food. There’s potato salad, popsicles, watermelon slices — and, of course, apple pie. But this all-American dessert isn’t as homegrown as you’d think. “When we say, ‘As American as apple pie,’ we think of baseball and hot dogs without ever considering not one ingredient in apple pie originates from what we call the United States,” says Libby O’Connell, author of The American Plate: A Culinary History in 100 Bites. Pie for thought: The recipe The British used animal fat, wheat, and water to create airtight pastry shells with the un¬appetizing name of “coffyns.” These savories were usually stuffed with beef or venison. In America, the shells became flakier (like the strudels made by German immigrants) and the meat fillings were replaced with apples, a way to use up imperfect fruit.

Cinnamon comes from an evergreen tree native to Sri Lanka. (The prophet Moses and Rome’s emperor Nero are believed to have eaten it.) The variety most commonly found on super¬market shelves today is cassia cinnamon, which originated in southern China. Cloves and nutmeg, indigenous to the Banda Islands of Indonesia, were considered so precious that Ferdinand Magellan brought 50 tons of them back to Spain after he sailed around the world in 1522. Watch out for these foods that are surprisingly high in sugar.

Apples The sweet, juicy fruit we use in pie isn’t native to North America, which specializes in crab apples. It originated in Kazakhstan. The Romans then crossed it with astringent apples used for making ¬cider. (True tidbit: Johnny “Appleseed” Chapman really did plant orchards around the United States.) Love apples? Here are some other healthy ways to eat apples you didn’t know about.

Becoming an American “Original” Once all the ingredients were in place, putting them together was as easy as—Well, it wasn’t so easy after all. Although the earliest apple pie recipes date to the 1300s, it took nearly 500 years for the dessert to hit it big in the United States. “During the Civil War, both Union and Confederate troops scavenged for apples and commandeered the hearths—and flour bins—of white farmers and black tenants to bake pies,” writes John T. Edge in Apple Pie: An American Story.

Wheat First cultivated more than 9,000 years ago, ancient wheat has been found in Iraq, Iran, and throughout the Middle East. The “king of grains” spread through Europe and then to the New World, where it failed miserably, which is why colonists relied on a Native American staple for baking: corn. In the late 1800s, Russian immigrants brought a wheat variety known as Turkey Red, which was better suited to our climate.

“Wartime adversity fixed the taste of apple pie on the palate of generations to come.” By 1902, an editorial in the New York Times proclaimed that pie had become “the American synonym for prosperity.” In the 1920s, the phrase as American as apple pie started to appear in print, and by World War II, soldiers declared that they were fighting “for mom and apple pie.” Apple pie—wholesome and comforting—had woven itself into the way we see our country.

Lard and Butter Wild boars (the ancestors of lard-producing pigs) are native to Asia, Europe, and Africa. It was actually Christopher Columbus, on his second voyage to the New World in 1493, who brought pigs and cattle, the source of all things dairy.

Given apple pie’s strong associations with America, there’s perhaps some small irony that it is not necessarily a homegrown American product, but something baked overseas and brought to these shores. But if immigrants comprise a key component of the United States’ lifeblood, then there is perhaps no better symbol of America than the delicious dessert.

Sugar and Spices Columbus also played deliveryman for sugar, which originated about 4,000 years ago in Indonesia, India, China, and what is now Papua New Guinea.

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SPOTLIGHT

Freedom Station I, a 12-unit property in Golden Hill, and Freedom Station II, a nine-unit property in South Park, are designed to shift injured warriors to independent living while still providing that all-important camaraderie. Active duty service members and veterans recover among peers, enroll in college or trade schools, establish new careers, gain financial independence, and discover new pursuits.

There is an ethos in the military known as No Man Left Behind. It represents a bond, a brotherhood, and the determination to bring your comrades home, no matter what. When our nation’s troops become ill or injured, a new battle begins. At this life-changing juncture, Warrior Foundation Freedom Station lives out this ethos in service to the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Sergeant Povas Miknaitis, U.S. Marine Corps (ret.) was one of Freedom Station I’s first residents. During a 2009 deployment to Afghanistan, his team was running a reconnaissance mission when an IED exploded beneath the floor of the house they entered. Although severely injured himself, Povas treated his teammates first to keep them alive and maintained perimeter security until the QRF arrived. He eventually ended up at NMCSD for treatment and recovery.

Warrior Foundation Freedom Station was founded in 2004, as Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom were underway. War raged in Iraq and Afghanistan, sending battle-injured soldiers, sailors and Marines back to Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) in devastating numbers. Sandy Lehmkuhler, a Navy wife volunteering at the hospital, witnessed the hardships endured by these warriors and their families. She founded this nonprofit with the mission of assisting, honoring and supporting the military men and women who bravely served and sacrificed for our country.

“When I was medically retiring from the Marine Corps, it was suggested that I move into Freedom Station as a transitionary process,” said Povas. “This model works – it helped me transition in a positive way, with a caring and compassionate support system. I’ve often thought about where I might be if I hadn’t come to Freedom Station. Sometimes I wonder if I would have been that person on the street corner asking for money, because I’ve been in some pretty dark places. Being at Freedom Station helped me with the different battles I’ve faced in my life.”

Now in its 17th year, Warrior Foundation Freedom Station is one of the most respected foundations in the region and serves four groups of warriors: the seriously ill and injured; those suffering from post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury; those undergoing physical or occupational therapy; and transitioning warriors who have medically retired and remain in our community.

Povas since graduated from the University of San Diego and is now a proud homeowner. He has a flourishing banking career and was named San Diego County Veteran of the Year for 2019-2020.

One of the foundation’s most innovative programs is Freedom Station – transitional housing residences that provide injured warriors with the acclimation time, guidance and resources to successfully transition from military service to civilian life.

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Petty Officer First Class Junior Rodriguez, U.S. Navy (ret.) currently lives at Freedom Station II. As a Corpsman, he provided lifesaving medical care to Marines during 13 combat deployments. Yet Junior would end up sustaining serious injuries of his own in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was introduced to Warrior Foundation Freedom Station while recovering at NMCSD. Junior says, “Every Christmas, the foundation decorated the barracks, left goody bags by our beds, and provided us with flights home for the holidays.


It let us know we were not forgotten. When it was time to transition, I moved into Freedom Station, and little did I know what a blessing it would be. They gave me opportunity. They gave me hope. They gave me tools and resources and people like myself - my Marines, my Army guys, and my Navy guys. Warrior Foundation Freedom Station has given me a chance to be me again, and I want to show other veterans that if I can do it, so can they.”

Proudly Serving Our Local San Diego Warriors Please consider donating today to provide San Diego’s injured military men and women with hope, a home and a chance to start the next chapter of their lives with the honor and dignity befitting the world’s finest fighting forces. Transitional Housing Residences at Freedom Station I and II Education & Career Guidance Vocational Projects Adaptive Sports and Wheelchair Basketball Outdoor Therapy Programs Post-Traumatic Stress Treatment Quality of Life Items and much more…

Junior now also serves as Assistant Program Director for the Wolfpack, the championship-winning wheelchair basketball team supported in part by the foundation.

DONATE NOW AT WWW.WARRIORFOUNDATION.ORG (619) 578-2615

Colonel Greg Martin, U.S. Marine Corps (ret.) joined the foundation as president in 2019, after 30 years in uniform. He previously commanded Wounded Warrior Battalion-West at Camp Pendleton. “We understand what drives service members, how they overcome challenges, and the support systems they need to thrive,” said Greg. “That’s why we focus on equipping America’s post-9/11 ill and injured warriors to live purposeful and self-sufficient lives through programs that promote recovery, independence and passion for the future.” In addition to transitional housing, Warrior Foundation Freedom Station offers programs such as adaptive sports, outdoor therapy, mentorship, education and career assistance, vocational projects, and more. To donate, please visit www.warriorfoundation.org. Warrior Foundation Freedom Station also participates in the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), the workplace giving program for federal civilian and military employees. Reference CFC #40485 when making a pledge. Warrior Foundation Freedom Station proudly holds the distinguished four-star rating from Charity Navigator, the nation’s largest evaluator of charities.

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Panhandle Warrior Partnership | Empowering Northwest Florida Veterans Through Proactive Outreach and Engagement By Keith Manley, Program Lead, Panhandle Warrior Partnership The Florida Panhandle is home to one of the most robust military veteran communities in the country. More than 100,000 veterans live in the region, and that number rises even higher when including their family members and caregivers. Strong community networks serve this population, but the challenge is ensuring veterans know what resources are available and how to access them.

We launched the Panhandle Warrior Partnership (PWP) this past May to bridge the gaps between local veterans, community service providers, and national resources. As an affiliate program of the national nonprofit America’s Warrior Partnership (AWP), our mission at the PWP is to empower the Northwest Florida community to empower their veterans. We accomplish this through implementing the four steps of the Community Integration service model: Connect, Educate, Advocate and Collaborate. Everything we do begins with proactively meeting veterans where they live and working to understand their unique situations. With this information in mind, we can connect veterans, their families, and caregivers with the resources, services, and partners best positioned to support them. Proactive Connections to Strengthen Communities The first thing many veterans ask about PWP is the range of connections we offer. The answer is simple: our focus is on holistic support, where veterans can learn about and connect with available resources and opportunities across Northwest Florida to improve their quality of life. 12

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We assist with helping veterans find a sense of belonging within their community, through recreational activities, networking with fellow veterans, and volunteerism. We also work with existing community service providers to help connect veterans to healthcare, housing, employment, benefits, and education. Rekindling a sense of community in the civilian world can be difficult, particularly for veterans who live in isolated or remote areas within the Panhandle. The PWP seeks to overcome this by proactively connecting with veterans and encouraging involvement in all the Panhandle community has to offer.

For services that may not be available within a community, PWP can access resources through The Network, a national coordination platform that delivers a streamlined process for finding vetted, quality veteranserving organizations on a national level. We also have direct connections with the Four Star Alliance, a community of adaptive sports, therapeutic recreation, and wellness organizations that specialize in serving veterans. In addition to connecting veterans to resources, the PWP ensures Northwest Florida is actively involved in broader initiatives to improve veteran lives. One of the most important initiatives we support is Operation Deep Dive, a community-based veteran suicide prevention study taking place in 13 states nationwide, including Florida. The Operation Deep Dive research team is currently interviewing in-state residents who have lost a veteran loved one to suicide, overdose, asphyxiation, suicide by law enforcement, accidental death by firearm, and drowning in the last two years. The study results will guide communities in developing more effective outreach programs that improve veterans’ quality of life and reduce risk factors associated with suicide and nonnatural death.


Kenny Thompson

Keith Manley

Meeting Veterans in Their Communities In addition to proactively meeting veterans at local events, we have a wide array of channels for veterans, families and caregivers to contact us. Veterans living in the Panhandle can call 850-945-VETS for 24/7 support or visit www.PanhandleWarriorPartnership.org . We also maintain a PWP Facebook Group where local veterans can connect with each other and learn about local events and opportunities, all of which is accessible at www.facebook.com/groups/panhandle.

& Organizations Navigating the resources available to veterans can be confusing, but San Diego Veterans Magazine believes no veteran should have to go it alone.

As PWP grows in the months ahead, I encourage veterans and service providers throughout Northwest Florida to join us in creating a community where every veteran, family member and caregiver is empowered to achieve the quality of life they have earned through their military service.

At Homeland Magazine you can find Veteran organizations and private nonprofits with resources for veterans that can help ease the process of attaining earned benefits, coping with the lasting effects of service-connected injuries and finding programs and services that meet your specific needs.

About the Author Keith Manley serves as Program Lead of the Panhandle Warrior Partnership. After a robust career in the U.S. military, he retired as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Technician, having deployed to Southwest Asia, Europe, and Central America in combat and humanitarian missions. Keith is an Alumni of Troy University where he received a B.S. in Business Resource Management. About America’s Warrior Partnership America’s Warrior Partnership is committed to empowering communities to empower veterans. We fill the gaps between veteran service organizations by helping nonprofits connect with veterans, their families, and caregivers. Our programs bolster nonprofit efficacy, improving their results, and empowering their initiatives. www.AmericasWarriorPartnership.org | @AWPartnership | #awpartnership

Homeland Veteran Resources & Organizations available at: www.MiramarPostalPlus.com

www.HomelandMagazine.com

Homeland Magazine A Veterans Magazine for Veterans by Veterans

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R E S O U

WOUNDS WE CANNOT SEE Post Traumatic Stress Disorder does not always allow the affected to seek help. Lend a hand and provide them with methods of help, listen and be a friend.

R

Homeland Magazine works with nonprofit veteran organizations that help more than one million veterans in life-changing ways each year.

C

Resources.

E

Support. Inspiration.

S

At Homeland Magazine you can visit our website for all current and past articles relating to PTSD, symptoms, resources and real stories of inspiration.

Resources & Articles available at:

www.HomelandMagazine.com

The colors of gratitude

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FIGHTING PTSD


A paratrooper’s

PAIN

Army Airborne veteran receives VA benefits, compensation more than 60 years after injury By Matt Saintsing

A

Matt Cimini takes a break from training at Warner Kaserne, a U.S. Army training facility in Munich, West Germany, in 1956.

s a young paratrooper in the 1950s, Matt Cimini was no stranger to relatively safe, controlled falls from great heights, but it was an unexpected drop in West Germany that would lead to a lifetime of pain. Even before his enlistment, Cimini had been drawn to a specific military occupation by a civilian boss who’d served with the famed 82nd Airborne Division. “He directly ordered me to go airborne,” said Cimini. “I said OK.” Cimini completed 17 jumps between jump school and his time with the 11th Airborne Division. Together with the men in his unit, he made the trek from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to train in Europe. “The jumping was OK,” he said, “but the worst injury I got was sustained from leading a patrol at night.” The soldiers guided off the road during the training mission in the woods around Munich, flanked left and were about to simulate open fire on their target when Cimini unexpectedly disappeared. “I went down this hole, and I swore I broke the ankle—I swore it,” Cimini said. He was right, as doctors would—much later in life—confirm the bone fracture. After the fall, he remained in a small medical pup tent for three days and was placed on limited duty. After being honorably discharged in 1957, Cimini returned to civilian life and his old job driving a truck for a meatpacking company in Providence, Rhode Island. A year later, he attempted to get his ankle treated through the Department of Veterans Affairs but was turned away. “More or less, they said, ‘Forget about it,’” Cimini said. “If I knew what DAV was at the time, it probably would have gone a hell of a lot different.” The injured ankle only worsened over time, and his years running, jumping and navigating field problems in the Army caught up with him as the pain radiated up both of his legs through his knees, hips and lower back. DAV National Service Officer Kenny Andrade, who met Cimini in 2013, instantly recognized the toll service had wrought on him.

“You can tell what this guy’s been through,” said Andrade. “His gait, the way he favors one side over the other. His body looked like it’s crooked; he leans to one side all the time.” Cimini also told Andrade about the stiffness around both of his ankles and the throbbing pain every time he walked. The years of gnawing aches motivated Cimini—after some persuasion—to submit a claim to the Department of Veterans Affairs with DAV’s assistance. Andrade filed the claim in early January 2020 but was quickly denied due to the dearth of medical evidence in Cimini’s military records. Armed with the knowledge imparted by Andrade and Mike Zibrida, who supervises the DAV office in Providence, Cimini was examined by a private doctor, who unveiled just how serious that pivotal fall was more than six decades ago. With a new medical opinion, supported by recent evidence and documentation, Andrade refiled the claim last year. In July 2020, Cimini’s claim was approved by the VA, significantly increasing his benefits and disability compensation. “It’s been a long road, but we finally have gotten to where he gets the medical treatment and recognition he deserves for his lower extremities,” said Andrade. “I’ve lived with a lot of pain—a lot of pain,” Cimini said. But now that he is able to get the care he needs, he was fitted with a brace for his injured ankle, which he said helps with that pain immensely. The 84-year-old Army veteran lauds the work Andrade and Zibrida did on his behalf. “DAV, for any veteran, particularly if you have a problem, is the absolute answer,” he said. “The VA is good, but they’re limited—they’re not going to go to hearings for you. They’re not putting in claims like the DAV would.” ■

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Painting Brings Joy to Severely Injured Warrior and His Wife By Rachel Bolles Life can change in an instant, taking away the independence we’ve become accustomed to. Fernando Martinez spent more than 15 years defending our nation’s freedoms in the Marine Corps Reserve until a wreck took away his personal independence. The driver fell asleep, and Fernando sustained two traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in the crash. He lost his ability to speak, so now he communicates with facial expressions, hand-waving, eye-rolling, and grunting. He also points to phrases, such as “I love you,” “yes,” and “no,” or letters to spell out words. “He can say certain small words with prompting, as I believe he forgets he has the ability to speak,” said Suzanne, Fernando’s wife.

“Our lives have to be planned accordingly these days,” Suzanne said. “We miss out on a lot of functions that don’t involve people with injuries. Shopping and eating out are the highlights of the week for the two of us together.” Fernando and Suzanne initially faced this new reality with nursing help from VA. Suzanne managed all his therapy. “He will never be the person I married, but there is always room for improvement, no matter how small,” she said.

Fernando is also wheelchair-bound, which limits his and Suzanne’s chances to travel and do usual errands.

“Art has allowed him to speak and express himself without words.” - Suzanne Martinez 16

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Reconnecting to Art Ten years after Fernando’s injuries, they signed up with Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). Suzanne was relieved for the help and new opportunities for Fernando. “I felt like someone cared for the caregiver,” Suzanne said. “We need to feel like ourselves again, instead of a robot that has been shut off from the world.” WWP’s Independence Program helps caregivers and the most seriously injured warriors live as independently as possible. It helps with creating individual goals and plans to exceed them. This program reintroduced Fernando to a hobby: art therapy. For the past six years, it’s been an opportunity for him to reconnect with his creative side and others who have the same interests.

Fernando has added many custom projects throughout the house, including a mural in their daughter’s nursery when Suzanne was pregnant with their daughter. And they’ve also sent many paintings to friends and family. “We both find joy in sharing his paintings with people,” Suzanne said.

“They feed off each other’s creativity,” Suzanne said. She finds it inspiring to see how others are using their creativity and vice versa.

Fernando and Suzanne also find joy with each other. “We laugh a lot!” Suzanne said.

“It’s an hour of pure joy,” Suzanne explained about Fernando’s weekly sessions with his art therapist. “He’s always been artistic by nature. Art has allowed him to speak and express himself without words.”

She noted it’s important for caregivers to take care of themselves, too. “Learn to say ‘no’ and not feel guilty,” she said. “You will lose friends and family in your journey, but you will gain more along the way. The ones who stay are the ones who understand and are true.”

The art therapy sessions are opportunities for Fernando to exercise his brain by working on timing, short-term memory, and decision-making. Physically, the therapy helps him with range of motion, endurance, and motor skills.

And despite the joy they’ve both found on their journey, Suzanne recognizes it’s OK to have bad days too. “It’s not sunshine and roses every day,” she said. “Pajamas exist for a reason.”

Suzanne commented that Fernando has come a long way in the years he’s been painting. He has a lot of input in each painting, whether it’s based on a design in a sample book, an idea from Suzanne, or an abstract expression based on the brushes and colors Fernando chooses to represent his feelings. Most of his creations are inspired by things he sees around him.

About Wounded Warrior Project Since 2003, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has been meeting the growing needs of warriors, their families, and caregivers — helping them achieve their highest ambition. Learn more at https://newsroom.woundedwarriorproject.org/about-us

“Three dogs and one horse have been immortalized in paint by Fernando,” Suzanne reflected.

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S:7.625"

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1-855-322-1158, TTY 711 UHCPatriotPlan.com You do not have to be a veteran to be eligible for this plan. Plans are insured through UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company or one of its affiliated companies, a Medicare Advantage organization with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in the plan depends on the plan’s contract renewal with Medicare. Benefits, features and/or devices vary by plan/area. Limitations and exclusions apply. Network size varies by market. ©2020 United HealthCare Services, Inc. All rights reserved. Y0066_200911_104349_M SRPJ59083

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Real Talk: Mental Health By Shari Finney , Clinic Director Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at VVSD

Bonding Together for Independence Many years ago, I had the pleasure of attending an Independence Day parade on Coronado Island in California. As Active Duty service members, tanks and even low flying helicopters went by, I was in awe of their power, precision, and elegance. I realized I was watching the descendants of the same military that had helped free us from oppression and create America in the first place. Since then, I have celebrated the 4th of July with a healthy dose of awe of how much of a country we are, and I am overwhelmed by pride in being an American. I realize that for many of us, this pride has been tested in various ways over the past years, but this year I believe we all have cause to celebrate. The dictionary defines independence as “the fact or state of being independent.” It also defines it as, “not influenced or controlled by others in matters of opinion, conduct, etc.; thinking or acting for oneself: an independent thinker. Not subject to another’s authority or jurisdiction; autonomous; free.” As these definitions relay, independence is an actual state and a way of being. This month, we, as a nation, celebrate independence from oppression. However, it’s not that linear. America and Americans have fought for independence on so many levels throughout history and especially these last few years. And, this month, we should all celebrate with more in mind, whether that’s Juneteenth and steps towards irradicating racial injustice and working toward reconciliation, or our slow independence from the pandemic, for example. We can work together to be free of influence of discriminatory thinking, and we can use resources and change our social behavior in order to combat COVID-19. There is more work to be done, but we are starting to bond together over common goals. However, all of this means nothing if we don’t have the emotional and mental capacity to participate and enjoy independence. The stress from racial divides and the pandemic have wreaked havoc on many individuals’ mental health, 20

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while we also continue to fight already existing stigma related to mental health and strive to be free from misconceptions related to seeking available, effective treatment. Here are some tips to help care for your mental health along the way: • Don’t do it alone. Talk to supportive family and friends via phone, screen or in person. If you live alone or have very little human contact, make it a goal to connect with someone every day. • Take steps to overcome social isolation that the pandemic has caused by slowly adding activities back into your life, perhaps start with one activity per week. • Find a group of people who challenge you to think about a different culture or look for ways to volunteer somewhere that will have an impact. Our Cohen Clinic has a Day of Giving and Reflection, where we take the day to read, research, and deep dive into other cultures or situations. Then, we meet the next day to discuss. It helps us learn about diversity and allows us to “disagree without being disagreeable,” famously said by former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Ruth Bader Ginsburg. • Facts are your friend. From learning about the various COVID-19 vaccines to opposing political views, learning the facts from a non-biased source can educate and calm anxiety by reducing “catastrophizing” or worstcase scenario thinking. • A professional therapist can help you get through symptoms that you can’t manage on your own. Work with someone to help you get “back to better.” As I personally reflect on independence this month, I will think about being free to vote how I believe, work at what I am skilled in, live where I want, and define my family as I chose to. I will think about how we are all free to seek help, not just for medical issues, but for mental health issues, as well.


Being independent contributes to a sense of mastery over oneself, including one’s emotions and mental health. It contributes to resiliency and self-sufficiency and emotional regulation. It is a vital component to mental and emotional well-being. Shari Finney serves as the Clinic Director at the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Veterans Village of San Diego. www.vvsd.net/cohenclinicsandiego The Cohen Clinic at VVSD is one of 19 mental health clinics nationwide under nonprofit Cohen Veterans Network (CVN), which focuses on providing targeted treatments for a variety of mental health challenges facing post-9/11 veterans and military families, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, transition challenges, and more. To learn how therapy can help with mental health challenges, visit www.cohenvetransnetwork.org

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Arts & Healing Arts for Military Veterans By Amber Robinson

Music, The Universal Healer The power of music. It is said to be one of the most powerful, if not most powerful, healing art. Music has a special ability to soothe us, elate us, motivate us to move or move us to tears. It evokes emotion in the most stirring of ways, taking us back to moments in time complete with the smells and feelings. Music can also be a place to hide, a place to find refuge when days seem dark. As a Soldier deployed to Afghanistan I found that sort of comfort in music. Every night of each of my three deployments I would hit the gym, retreat into my headphones and let music carry me away from the war. During my second tour I discovered artists like Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes and XXY. I’d stay on the treadmill and stationary bike for miles upon miles, letting the music and the rhythm of my body carry me away. My next tour I was still hooked on the same bands, just their new albums. These musicians became my daily saviors. This inspired me to reach out to fellow veterans locally to see what album, band or song has kept them going during war, training or just hard times in general. Whether certain music gave them a laugh, good memories or helps them to heal and grow now, it’s obvious music and military service have a close relationship. San Diego Army veteran and artist, Brian Meyer, says he used to listen to the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin during his service, but has a particular memory of a Zeppelin knock-off group. “I remember when the ground war started in Desert Storm and we just got finished changing frequencies and call signs for our Log Base. They played over the radio station “Dread Zepplin”, a reggae cover band playing “Stairway to Heaven”, but the lyrics were to Gilligan’s Island.,” said Meyer. 22

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“Just the thought of all our tanks driving into Iraq listening to “Stairway”, and how the lyrics were just completely wrong, but still fitting, had to have made a few listening, chuckle.” “[The] Stone Temple Pilots [album], ‘Core’, settles me,” said Navy veteran Eric Trigg. “One of my go-to songs is “Beautiful” by Carol King,” said Naval officer, Theresa Louise Carpenter. “Every time I hear it, I get inspired. It’s lyrics remind us that your attitude is a choice, one that we must take control of and decide to choose to be positive, no matter what crap life throws at us.”


“Music has the power to literally take us back to who we were before the bad things happened”

I then asked musician Floyd Smith, founder of local 501(C)3 nonprofit, Music Therapy for Veterans, what he thought it was about music that could makes it so powerful in coping and healing.

Although Smith is not a veteran, his father was a three-time combat veteran who served during World War II, Vietnam and the Korean War. He exhibited classic PTSD symptoms for most of Smith’s life. But, as a kid, Smith recalls him bringing home a different 45 (record) each Friday and getting lost in the music.

“Music is the only thing that consumes the entire brain at one time,” said Smith. “It inspires our need for movement, evokes emotions, memory and releases endorphins.”

“It was the only time he ever seemed peaceful,” said Smith. “He was doing music therapy on himself and he didn’t even realize it. Music was the only thing that brought him back.” When I asked Floyd what he thinks it is about music that helps those of us affected by PTSD heal, he had a profound answer.

Smith, part of the five-time Grammy-winning group 5th Dimension formed his nonprofit after a performance at a VA facility in 2011. He recalls everyone looking so sad and the facility being devoid of a very important healing element. Music.

“Music has the power to literally take us back to who we were before the bad things happened,” he said. “It has the power to grab that part of your brain from when you were alright.”

From that moment he decided to find a way he could bring veterans the magic of music therapy. His nonprofit raises funds to link veterans up with professional music therapists. It is a San Diego-based nonprofit but Smith hopes to expand his services nationally.

If you are a veteran interested in Smith’s music therapy program, you can sign up for free at their website at www.musictherapyforveterans.org.

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A Different Lens Mental Health Monthly By RanDee McLain

CHANGE In San Diego and most of California we have finally started to see the lifting of many COVID restrictions. We are no longer required to wear masks most places and are free to move about as we please. A unique phenomenon that we have seen is that people from many sectors are looking for a change. We have a high number of employees leaving their jobs, switching agencies, or all together changing professions. It seems COVID has given people the time and space to reevaluate their priorities, and what is important for them. I recently read an article that said this is happening throughout the US and we are seeing increasing numbers of people looking for something completely different than what they were doing pre-COVID. It was interesting even as I was preparing for this article, I have mixed emotions around change. As a prior service member and former spouse of Active Duty- I feel the three-year itch. I feel every three to four years I am looking for the next change or adventure. I think most service members can relate. We are used to uprooting our lives every few years. I personally loved the adventure and exploring new cities. Of course, there was a lot of stress as well, but it was something we were accustomed to. I mentioned the mixed emotions around change. I like changing something every few years but am also known to stay in relationships and jobs longer than I should. I guess when change is forced on me (I.e. military) I accepted and embrace it. When it is my choice for change, I tend to drag my feet. Why do we fear change? Even when we know we should change- so many of us fear change.

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We are creatures of habits. We get a routine, and we stick with it generally. Change will disrupt that and is something that can be uncomfortable. The fear of unknown keeps a lot of people from making changes. You may not be happy where you are, but it seems safer than stepping out and being unsure of what is next. Research indicates that a fear of change is one of the single most career limiting moves you can make. There is the fear many times if it is the right decision. Will the outcome be what you hoped for? I had a Chief I used to work for and when I sought consult on life choices he would always say…..you won’t know till you try. He also hadn’t cleaned his coffee cup in 25 years- so not sure how trustworthy that advise is!   Things to keep in mind when thinking of change: • Avoid change for the sake of change. • Find what grounds you and won’t be changing (family, relationships, hobbies). This will help you as you navigate the new choice. • Don’t be a full surprise to those most impacted (kids, family, partners) - If you are thinking big career or physical move preparing others is helpful. • Do your researchand take your time when making big life changes. This is your life….take risks….make changes and live your best life. See you next month as we explore the social awkwardness of post COVID interactions


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Before you listen to all these voices, ask yourself these three questions: • Have you given this goal your best effort? • If you have – what are the reasons you could not be successful? Is it a lack of resources, knowledge or skill? • How can you learn from where you are and make a plan to acquire what is missing – the resources, knowledge or skills – to allow you to be successful?

Make July your Month of Independence In the United States we have just finished celebrating the 4th of July. It’s a special time to Americans. Not only are there picnics and parades, there is an understanding that over 200 years ago people got fed up with the way things were and pledged their “lives, fortunes, and sacred honor” to making the changes they saw necessary for long-term success as a nation. July is also halfway through the calendar year, six months away from the hopeful exuberance of New Year’s resolutions. This makes it a perfect opportunity to make July a month to declare your personal independence from the things that are standing in the way of your resolutions and goals. Revisit those grand dreams and declare your independence from the tyranny holding you back – pledging with the same revolutionary fervor as the patriots did to make the changes necessary for your success. Declare your independence from failure. How are you doing on the goals you made at the first of the year? Have you fallen so far behind that you have shoved them back into a corner, pointedly ignoring them because you feel that you have failed? This is the tyranny of failure. It stalks along beside you, assuring you that each and every time you try something new it will not work out and you will not be successful. Often it has helpers – your friends, coworkers, possibly even those closest to you. Regardless, the largest ally of failure is the voice inside of you. 26

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The great Roman general Marcus Aurelius asked the question a different way: “Does what’s happened keep you from acting with justice, generosity, self-control, sanity, prudence, honesty, humility, straightforwardness?” In other words, does what you perceive as failure change your basic nature as a human being? If not, don’t waste time being held back by the failure. Instead use it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Take that learning and growth into the future and continue on to achieve your goals. Declare your independence from fear. Television personality Mike Rowe tells a story when he stood before the camera to begin his first night as a host on the shopping channel QVC. He had a product he knew nothing about, he had no experience in live television, and he knew that QVC was not interested in on-air personalities who could not sell products.


In his story, Mike points out a key in declaring your independence from the tyranny of fear: Don’t hide your fear. Acknowledge that you are scared to yourself and to those around you. In Mike’s case, he started out his segment letting the entire television audience know that it was his first time, he didn’t know anything about what the product did, and then he asked them to get involved and help him out.

Whether they are formal advisors, technical assistants, or just sounding boards who can help in the development of ideas, a support system is invaluable in helping you reach a goal. Make yourself accountable to those who care about you. It does not have to be a formal accountability framework; something as simple as online social media can be very powerful. When I first started a fitness program, I posted each day’s run to my Facebook account. This was not so much that I wanted to be sure that my friend saw me run, rather, it was my motivation when I did not want to go run.

The audience responded by filling the phone lines to talk about their experience with the products, encouraged by Mike’s willingness to be truthful and authentic with them. Most importantly, they were willing to purchase the products being pitched.

Declare your independence.

What Mike Rowe did was eliminate the best weapon of fear, which is the uncertainty that comes with doing something that you have not done before. By openly acknowledging the fear he made it clear that he was committed to success and was able to tap into those who were waiting for an opportunity to make that success possible.

Make this July your personal “Independence Month” – a month to recommit to the goals that you want to achieve this year.

Declare your independence from going it alone. The story that Mike Rowe tells also shows the futility of trying to go it alone. Many people set goals – whether they are related to education, fitness or career – then attempt to achieve those goals in the absence of any type of support system.

Adjust where necessary, learn from the attempts of the first half of the year, banish your fear, and reengage with your support system.

The self-made man is a myth. Throughout history, leaders who have been successful have had carefully developed support systems around them.

You have the second half of the year to make your goals a reality, and the experiences of the first half of the year to get you there.

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Healthcare Careers: A Perfect Fit for Military and Civilian Life By Stephanie Lee, Air Force Veteran & Enrollment Manager, CareerStep Sometimes, the sense of division between life in the military and life as a civilian feels like a vast chasm. In fact, for military families, this sense of division joins a long list of challenges that specifically impact the men and women who sacrifice so much for the country. These challenges couldn’t be more apparent than when it comes to finding a post-military career or one that is flexible enough to align with military spouses’ unique needs—a career that checks all the right boxes: satisfaction, security, and stability. Finding industries and employers that understand the skills of veterans and their families can seem like an uphill climb at times, and it shows. For example, the unemployment rate for veterans rose to 6.5% in 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Reasons for this vary, but one contributing factor could be that lessons learned under the harsh conditions of combat don’t always translate to private-sector jobs. And for military spouses—60% of which say they’re looking for full- or part-time work—finding a profession that’s both portable and in-demand is increasingly difficult.

However, there is hope and there are opportunities. First, it’s important to consider key reasons why a career in healthcare—the fastest-growing sector in the U.S. economy according to BLS data—might just be what bridges that expansive gap between military and civilian life. 1. Meaningful Work Most who enter the military are looking for fulfilling work—an opportunity to make a difference. A real difference. But few civilian careers allow veterans to make as much of a difference as those found in healthcare. That’s because working in this particular field, regardless of the role, provides the opportunity to impact peoples’ lives in profound ways. From mending wounds and healing minds to saving lives, the difference healthcare workers make is undeniable. 2. Transferable Skills There’s a reason healthcare is an overwhelmingly popular career choice for veterans and their spouses: it’s an industry in which military-specific skills are undeniably relevant. Creative problem solving, adaptability, and effective communication—they’re all valuable skills that healthcare organizations can’t ignore if they want to provide the best possible service and care to their patients. And they’re all skills that veterans and their spouses already possess. 3. In-Demand Careers People need healthcare. In turn, the industry needs people willing to step up to the proverbial plate.

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Healthcare Training For Your Next Phase of Life

Economic and labor experts believe we need to hire 2.3 million new healthcare workers by 2025 if we’re going to keep pace with the needs of our aging population. But a persistent shortage of skilled workers with exceptional knowledge and training means hundreds of thousands of positions will remain unfilled. Home health aides, medical assistants, lab technicians, and more are all in high demand. 4. Portable Jobs For a working military spouse, it can be difficult to cultivate a strong professional network, and when the time comes to pack up and move to a new city, the wrong vocation can leave even the most talented pro scrambling to start over. That’s why job portability is so important. Healthcare training provides the skills and certifications that employers are looking for in highgrowth, high-demand fields in virtually every city in the entire world. Supportive Training for Success These days, there are multiple training options for learners to pave their road to success. These organizations often have hiring network relationships, so it’s important to keep in contact and inform them when certification is achieved. It’s especially important for members of the healthcare sector to be fully qualified and properly trained. An early step is to start by choosing a specific discipline and then find a provider that can help learners develop the concrete job skills employers are looking for.

Our online training programs are approved for military education funding—all designed to help military members and their spouses build skills and thrive in careers that are portable, in-demand, and rewarding.

The good news is that there’s a significant amount of trusted providers who specialize in transforming entrylevel learners into high-performing, certified healthcare professionals. And they all do this with expansive catalogs of fully online career training programs that are fast, portable, and eligible for military education grants—often covering up to 100% of the cost.

Start training today so you can be prepared for meaningful work tomorrow.

Finding the right fit takes a little time and it is important to explore the possibilities. Doing the research is crucial as it can improve the learning experience—and potentially lead to faster employment. Deciding to pursue a career in healthcare is a fulfilling and viable option for veterans and their spouses. About the Author: Stephanie Lee served in the Air Force for 11 years as a Munitions Systems Craftsman. She now serves as an Enrollment Manager for CareerStep, (www.careerstep.com/military/), the Allied Health training division of Carrus. (www.carruslearn.com)

For more information, call (877) 201-3470 or visit www.careerstep.com/military

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American Corporate Partners (ACP) A Mentorship that Matters By Amy Meehan Mission American Corporate Partners (ACP) is a national nonprofit organization focused on helping returning veterans, veterans who have transitioned out of the military and active-duty spouses find their next careers through one-onone mentoring, networking and online career advice. According to the Department of Labor, approximately 200,000 men and women leave U.S. military service every year. ACP believes the biggest issue facing those transitioning service members is not unemployment – it’s underemployment. ACP focuses on helping veterans and active-duty spouses find meaningful employment opportunities and develop long-term careers and professional goals. To date, ACP has helped more than 20,000 veterans and active duty spouses through its mentoring program. Post-9/11 veterans, active-duty spouses and eligible military spouses are referred to as Protégés, and the professionals that participate through their organization’s partnership with ACP are known as Mentors. Program Guidelines ACP focuses primarily on three groups: Post 9/11 veterans, women veterans and active duty spouses. An ACP mentorship is a yearlong commitment, which encourages Mentors and Protégés to connect for monthly discussions. ACP staff support the program with customized resources, training and suggestions, and helps the pair build a successful mentorship. It begins through a pairing process where ACP’s staff carefully selects a Mentor for each Protégé based on career compatibility, experience level, location and personal interests. Every Mentor and Protégé has a phone call with an ACP staff member to communicate and consider preferences. Most mentoring pairs are long-distance and communicate primarily through phone, videoconference and email exchanges.

Post-9/11 Veteran Mentoring Program ACP’s Veteran Protégés are post-9/11 service members and veterans at various stages of the transition process: • Service members who are still serving on active duty and planning for an upcoming transition or retirement • Recently separated veterans in the midst of a transition • Veterans who separated years ago and are currently employed, but are looking to advance in a current civilian career • Student veterans who are seeking advice from successful business leaders in the private sector ACP Veteran Protégé Alum and JP Morgan Chase Software Engineer, Yang Zhou, said “ACP definitely helped me get the job I have now. I was lost and confused on how to start and didn’t have any prior experience in IT.

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www.acp-usa.org

My Mentor really encouraged me and gave me detailed steps on how to get started and approach people with similar backgrounds. His personal experiences in the corporate world made a difference and I also appreciated my ACP contact who stayed on top of our partnership, always sending me resources and touching base with me.” Whether a veteran is actively searching for a new career or newly employed and looking for advice about how to be successful in their new role and advance, ACP’s customized program is designed to assist a veteran or active duty spouse on their path toward rewarding, meaningful employment. Typical mentorship topics include: • Résumé review and interview preparation • Career exploration • Work-life balance • Networking • Small business development • Leadership and professional communication With eight months to go before his official retirement, Army Sergeant Major (E-9) Bryan B applied to ACP in August of 2020. Soon after, he was paired with ACP Mentor James Wise, PMP from Amentum. After getting to know one another, Jim and Bryan rolled up their sleeves and got to work. They explored careers in project management, discussed best PMP study practices, conducted countless mock interviews, overhauled Bryan’s resumé, and so much more. Their hard work paid off when Bryan accepted his “dream position” at Airbus Defence and Space and Bryan and Jim continue to meet and conquer workplace challenges as they arise. ACP has more than 20,000 success stories like the ones Yang and Bryan experienced in their mentorships. You can see the impact be visiting www.acp-usa.org For more information, please visit us at www.acp-usa.org facebook.com/AmericanCorporatePartners linkedin.com/company/american-corporate-partners Instagram.com/acp_usa

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Using What Brings Us Together

In the past 30 years, amidst all the technological advances to come our way, including iterations of the Internet and incredible software advances making our lives easier and society more accessible, very little has changed when it comes to getting a job. Corporations understand hiring Veterans and transitioning Service Members is even more challenging. Job seekers all use a resume and scroll down endless pages of open jobs in order to apply, whether they’re Vets or not. Vouch4Vets began building software for Veterans and their Spouses in 2017 to address these challenges and more. Never before has an organization delivered enterprise-level software to the job seeker, moreover Veterans or transitioning Service Members and their Spouses.

Vouch4Vets is made up of HR industry experts, Veterans and technologists who understand how companies, large and small, hire talent and navigate staffing challenges. They recognize references typically are asked at the end of a very long hiring, just before sending an offer letter. If references are so important, why don’t they come first – and as Referrals? Vouch4Vets creates software platforms for Veterans and Spouses, seeking employment, to collect and store Video Referrals from their Advocates. These job seekers then share the Referrals with recruiters, hiring managers and other important influencers along their journey to get that next great job. Benefits to Job Seekers Veteran job seekers and their Spouses control distribution of the Video Referrals, these referrals are created by Advocates who understand that, via their recording, they are speaking directly to the audience who will be assessing their fitment inside the organization and this short video will influence them whether or not they’ve started interviewing.

Vouch4Vets has only one focus: to introduce great jobs to Vets and their Spouses. 32

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The Future of Veteran Hiring

The alternative is the status-quo: Complicated-looking resumes which often don’t get the consideration they should.

Vouch4Vets is partnering with huge, publicly traded corporations and small business alike. Our goal is to build a better bridge, a digital one, between Vets, Spouses and hiring managers.

Benefits to Companies The current Head of Military Hiring for a Fortune 100 company recently commented to Vouch4Vets, that his own team are the advocates for all of these transitioning Service Members and Veterans. If they had Video Referrals to show hiring managers, sent in by these Veteran job seekers, it could scale their efforts and free up all the time they spend trying to convince hiring managers to hire more/specific Veterans applying for jobs.

We’ll continue to utilize Advocates’ positive messages about these job seekers’ skills to get them interviews and great jobs!

www.vouch4vets.org

Our Mission Vouch4Vets has only one focus: to introduce great jobs to Vets and their Spouses. We do this on the same platform by driving real jobs to Vets and Spouses who are viewing their Advocates talk about how valuable they are at what they do. Pure Positivity Social Media has degraded into a pool of negativity. Vouch4Vets recognizes no one sits down to record themselves giving a negative review of a job seeker who’s asked them for help. Advocates frequently mention things which job seekers realize they should be mentioning during phone interviews or their “Onsite” interviews. Vouch4Vets is the first and only software platform that delivers a reference-check straight to the Job Seeker, as a referral. The Future of Veteran Hiring Vouch4Vets is partnering with huge, publicly traded corporations and small business alike. Our goal is to build a better bridge, a digital one, between Vets, Spouses and hiring managers. We’ll continue to utilize Advocates’ positive messages about these job seekers’ skills to get them interviews and great jobs!

Please Donate

www.vouch4vets.org

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WHAT’S NEXT Transition to Civilian Life By Eve Nasby & Kristin Hennessy

Celebrate Freedom from Transition Stress Those who haven’t transitioned out of the military, but plan to, may think the transition period is just as structured and command-oriented as active duty. After all, there is a rather lengthy enlistment ending program! Ranging anywhere from 4 hours to a few days, you’ll be stuffed with valuable information and guidance, right? Brochure Overload Janet thought that was the case. After 10 years in the Navy, she made the decision to leave. She felt hopeful that the transition seminar would guide her into her next stage of life. As she plopped herself down on her overstuffed couch and mindlessly flipped through the brochures and colorful packets of information she received, she suddenly was struck with great stress and anxiety. The instructors at her Transition Readiness Program were well-informed and had good intentions, but her mind just couldn’t focus or absorb the firehose of information assaulting her. Her needs roiled through her mind in a bubbling cauldron of uncertainty. “Finances, education, new career…,” and the list churned on. “Just because they told me about these services doesn’t mean I know where to start or how to use them,” she brooded. “How do I make sense of all of these services? How do I know what to do first? Who can I trust to give me good intel who will invest the time and energy to really get to know my needs and make unique recommendations just for me?” She was drowning in stress and anxiety. Drowning in a Sea of Goodwill This feeling is a common one for those transitioning from active duty military to civilian work life. Transition means change. Leaving what’s familiar is stressful, and can lead to feeling angry, on edge, sleepless nights and difficulty concentrating. When your mind is swirling in chaos and fear, it’s unlikely that you’ll be motivated and focused enough to make sense of the countless flyers, brochures and tips that are thrown at you in a seminar about effectively ending your enlistment. While the seminar’s intentions were good, the reality is, all you see is a stack of more chaos and no idea what to do with it. 34

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Sure, there are services for everything. One quick google search or dip into your stack of brochures will produce countless offerings for services on resume writing, interviewing skills, financial management and more. But which ones do you need? Some are free and some are expensive. Some are local and some aren’t. Some things you may need, but some you may not. Where do you begin? Or, do you even dare begin? Wouldn’t it be easier if there was a trusted broker of these services that really made sense of everything for you, and even your spouse, if applicable? Your Freedom Awaits Good news! There is. Kynan T. Henderson (K.T.), U.S.M.C. (Retired) Transition Manager from The USO Pathfinder® Transition Program, extends his hand out to help those in transition make sense of all that is available. K.T. and his team are strategically positioned throughout the U.S. to extend the USO experience to active duty, Reserve, National Guard and military spouses. They offer professional development services starting from the initial transition period. They will be there to assist and guide you and/or your military spouse for 6 months into your new career to ensure you’re settled and on your feet. K.T. and his team of Transition Specialists work with you one on one to create a personalized plan to help your transition successfully. In addition to specializing in employment, they also help with education, (including leading online learning platforms like Skillsoft, IBM SkillsBuild and Coursera), financial readiness and mentorship.


More positive news, most companies love to hire veterans. “I get emails every day from companies that want to hire veterans,” says K.T. enthusiastically. You, as a veteran, are wanted and needed in the civilian workplace. The trick is finding your niche, your passion and your fit. When you register for free with the USO program, a specialist like K.T. will reach out within 24 hours to assess your needs and confidentially create a plan of success for you aligning you with pre-vetted resources who are dedicated to your success.

About The USO The USO strengthens America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation. Since 1941, the USO has been the nation’s leading organization to serve the men and women in the U.S. military, and their families, throughout their time in uniform. From the moment they join, through their assignments and deployments, and as they transition back to their communities, the USO is always by their side. Today’s USO continuously adapts to the needs of our men and women in uniform and their families, so they can focus on their very important mission. We operate USO centers at or near military installations across the United States and throughout the world, including in combat zones, and even un-staffed USO service sites in places too dangerous for anyone but combat troops to occupy. In San Diego, (www.sandiego.uso.org/) we have four physical USO locations, Camp Pendleton, Liberty Station, the Neil Ash Center at SD International Airport and at MEPS. Our mobile programming is county-wide and impacts the lives of both military and their families.

www.bandofhands.com

Eve Nasby: eve@bandofhands.com

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / July 2021

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HUMAN RESOURCES Transition to Business By Paul Falcone

The Big Benefits of Laughter in the Workplace July is the month celebrating the Declaration of Independence, and every employer wants to hire new staff members that are independent, accountable, high performing, and achievement focused. Do you know one of the best ways of getting there? Laughter. Seriously. Humor drives camaraderie, teamwork, and trust better than just about anything else. And when workers feel comfortable in their skin and supported by one another, they perform at a higher level naturally. They say “Laughter is the best medicine” for a reason. A healthy workplace culture known for humor and lightheartedness produces incredible benefits, including: • Creating an atmosphere of levity and a sense of perspective that can dissolve tension and, in turn, protect us from stress at work and improve our physical and mental health • Keeping your team connected and bonded, especially when you’re facing challenging times, so that people are more inclined to have others’ backs

“Laughter is the best medicine”

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• Making team members more open to change, as the very act of laughing releases feel-good chemicals that enhance concentration and creativity • Driving greater innovation because workers who relax around each other and benefit from a playful culture are less concerned about making mistakes and open to taking risks—a foundation for finding more creative and innovative solutions A hint of self-deprecating humor can also be a useful tool for leaders and other employees to make themselves more approachable. In fact, when leaders and employees share a certain level of self-effacing banter, employees tend to gain even more professional respect for leaders—a counterintuitive finding for leaders who are afraid to show weakness. Moreover, research suggests that people who engage in more conversational humor with colleagues feel happier and experience higher job satisfaction. But how do you incorporate humor into the corporate world?


Many of the ideas below will depend on your own personality and willingness to adopt a broader spirit of fun, but here are some places to start: 1. Smile: That’s it, and it’s that simple. Ask your team to just smile more. That’s an order. 2. Set up Eat & Greets: Start a lunch bunch and get out for a daily walk or watch your favorite TV show (especially The Office, which might make for parallel laughter) 3. Organize a happy hour with your co-workers once a week 4. Play Tell the Truth: Gather trivia about the people on your team; send out a mapping and matching quiz to see who can correctly guess all of the matches. 5. Picture This: Photoshop headshots of your team onto a picture of superheroes or celebrities. Use these avatars in all your PowerPoint presentations. 6. Get Cartoony: Start a cartoon board and post some funnies for all to enjoy (Dilbert, anyone?) 7. Showcase Your Kids: Create a “Look at what my kid made!” or “Could you imagine my kid did this?” mural for employees to share their kids’ creations and peccadillos 8. Learn a New Language: If you work internationally, learn a few words and phrases of a language of one of your clients; surprise your team with it in your next meeting 9. Learn More English: Pick a word of the day or week, make sure it’s obscure and esoteric, and ask everyone to create a funny sentence using it 10. Be Creative: Brainstorm your own unique way of bringing humor to work. It’s worth the added effort. Note that many of these exercises work just as well for remote teams. Presentations and meetings are great opportunities for you to add a little entertainment value to keep your team engaged. With an increasingly distributed workforce, virtual team building activities have become an important measure for cultivating camaraderie and boosting motivation amongst remote employees. And with remote work here to stay, managing the needs of a remote team is basically equal to managing the needs of the future workforce. Let laughter get you there much faster as your key strategic leadership tool.

You can connect with Paul on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/paulfalcone1

Paul Falcone (www.PaulFalconeHR.com) is a human resources executive and bestselling author on hiring, performance management, and leadership development.

www.HarperCollinsLeadership.com

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / July 2021

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Five LinkedIn Tips for Transitioning Military Veterans:

Five LinkedIn Tips By Sam Falcone

For veterans transitioning into the private sector workforce, the task of building an online and social presence can seem daunting. It’s easy to hesitate at the thought of building a digital portfolio through websites such as LinkedIn, but the truth is, those who are not taking full advantage of LinkedIn’s services are missing out on an incredibly powerful tool to advance their careers. As a LinkedIn and digital marketing strategist, I’ve seen outstanding LinkedIn profiles and not-so-memorable ones, but one thing’s for sure: LinkedIn represents your online resume and business card, your professional “best self.” Unlike other social media websites, LinkedIn is strictly business, and it’s the first place that prospective employers look once they’ve received your resume and are considering you for an interview. So, let’s take a few simple steps together to transition into the digital marketing and social media world, highlighting your greatest strengths and putting your experience in the best light. Whether you’re constructing a LinkedIn profile from scratch or dusting the cobwebs off of a previously inactive account, here are five easy steps to help enhance your LinkedIn profile and catch the eyes of recruiters and hiring managers. Step 1: Upload a Professional Photo LinkedIn automatically applies a generic avatar icon to newly established profiles, but profiles without your smiley (but professional) face have far fewer hits. You don’t have to spend money on a professional photographer for a formal headshot—instead, take a snapshot of yourself in professional business attire 38

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Establishing Your Online Presence is Easier Than You Think

(neck up only!) using your smart phone and upload it to your LinkedIn page. This one step alone will catapult the views you get and interest in the content that follows. Oh, and while you’re there, be sure to complete your “Contact Info” with as much information as possible—cell phone and email, primarily—to make it easy for prospective employers to contact you. Step 2: Customize Your LinkedIn URL Once you establish your account, LinkedIn will automatically assign an address (AKA “Universal Resource Locator,” or URL) to you. However, it will look like a scramble of letters and numbers that reflect random computer code. You’ll want to create what’s known as a “vanity URL” so that it closely matches your name and can easily be added to the top of your resume. For example, my vanity URL is linkedin.com/in/ samfalcone1, which makes it easy enough to find me and has a much cleaner and more professional look. (Feel free to send me an invite once you’re logged in to your LinkedIn account!) To learn how to customize your URL quickly and easily, click here: https://bit.ly/2HbgULi. Step 3: Headline Just below your headshot is your LinkedIn headline, where you can use a call-to-action to catch a recruiter’s attention. Try something like this: “Military veteran transitioning into the private sector and looking for full-time employment” or equivalent. You can be more specific, for example, by writing: “Navy commander looking to transition into a private sector position in technical operations or engineering leadership.”


Whatever you decide, make sure you emphasize your goal of transitioning into a private sector career path. Likewise, let recruiters know you’re actively looking for work by following the steps in the attached LinkedIn article titled, “How to Flag Your LinkedIn Profile to Notify Recruiters you are OPEN to new Opportunities,” which you can find here: https://bit.ly/2EgCNHY.

2021

Step 4: The About and Experience Sections Think of the “About” section as your 60-second elevator pitch. Who are you and what’s important to you in finding your next employer? What leadership, communication, and technical skills will easily transfer to the private sector? What achievements and accommodations have you received that demonstrate how you stand out as a rarity among your peers? Likewise, in the “Experience” section, display your previous titles, reporting relationships, primary and secondary responsibilities, and the resulting achievements (unless they are classified or restricted, of course). In both sections, be sure to translate your military achievements into their civilian equivalents using a military translator tool like the one found at Military.com (https://bit.ly/3ksXcsO) and similar sites.

GOALS www.HomnelandMagazine.com

Transitioning out of the Military into the Civilian Workforce?

Step 5: Skills / Endorsements and Recommendations Finally, select the skills that you believe you’re best known for and encourage your peers and contacts to endorse you (and which you should, in turn, do for them). Categories include Industry Knowledge, Tools and Technologies, Interpersonal Skills, Foreign Languages, and others. Likewise, in the Recommendations section, ask others to write about how you’ve solved problems, led effectively, communicated through difficult times, and the like. If possible, ask your prior leaders, managers, and supervisors to endorse you here for the equivalent of an “online letter of recommendation.”

Finding a job in the civilian world may seem easy at first. After all, you have learned skills, practiced leadership and demonstrated initiative that will make you successful wherever you go. The reality, though, is that it can be difficult. In fact, it can be downright depressing, demotivating and you may feel totally disillusioned.

Note that once you reach “500+ connections,” LinkedIn stops advertising the number of connections you have. So, whether you have 501 or 50,001, LinkedIn will only show “500+.” Therefore, make it your goal to reach the 500-connection mark over the next year or few years. Along with your personal contacts, your connections could include professionals in your industry or particular discipline, such as Human Resources, Finance, or Marketing, as well as like-minded veterans and connections made at external events. Look to LinkedIn to establish your online presence and serve as your job search calling card. It’s easier than you think, more fun that you might otherwise imagine, and well worth the effort.

Veterans In Transition is dedicated to you and to helping you succeed in your transition. For editorial & monthly columns regarding transitioning to business, career advice, tips, workshops, transition to education, entrepreneurship, straight-forward legal tips for military and veteran business owners and more, Visit our website at: www.tinyurl.com/Veterans-In-Transition

VETERANS

Sam Falcone is a Digital Marketing and Social Media Strategist in Chicago.

IN TRANSITION

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / July 2021

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How Social Media Helps Improve Your Business or Profession By Joseph Molina www.vccsd.org What started as a tool for fun, games and entertainment has grown far beyond that to become an invaluable tool for communication, networking and Relationship Building becoming an integral part of people’s lives. Many find it difficult to stay away even for a day (or even for an hour). For businesses and professionals, social media can be a Launchpad to reach the world. They can leverage on the over 500 million users of LinkedIn and more than 1 billion users of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp as well as other newcomers. Another beautiful thing about social media platforms is that they keep evolving in line with the demands of users and businesses that use them. Many platforms have now incorporated various features and programs that lend more support to businesses and professionals. Social media has helped many businesses become global brands and send the right messages to their target audience in a simpler, more effective yet cheaper way. For many professionals, social media has been a platform through which they showcased their skills a nd talents, connecting them with those who need their service. With all the recorded successes of social media, many are still left behind because they fail to see the inherent benefits in it. Many businesses fail in converting leads to actual customers because they do little or no social media campaign at all while others fail to grow because they still don’t understand how it works. Let’s take a look at some of the options: 1. It can help businesses and professionals reach out to their target audience This is one of the key importance of social media. Businesses and professionals need to reach out to potential customers. They need to showcase themselves, their brands and products (or services). It’s not only about having the right product and/or services. If people out there know next to nothing about the business/service. With a greater percentage of people in developed countries and a good number of those in developing countries on at least one social media platform, a targeted social media campaign will reach potential customers in far less time than it would take traditional media. 40

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The fact is that social media platforms are connected beyond borders. This can greatly multiply the chances of getting customers from any country. 2. It can aid easier and faster communication between businesses (or professionals) and customers Thanks to social media, businesses, brands and professionals can now communicate faster with customers in a seamless manner. Customers can now register their grievances, reviews, feedbacks and appraisals easily and get a response in a short amount of time. 3. It can improve the visibility! As stated earlier, a brand needs to be seen before it can be patronized, and social media can boost findability even amid lots of competitors. The introduction of SEO to social media makes it possible for any brand or professional to come up once keywords, phrases and other features that relate to their products or services are searched. 4. It can help your business connect You would be surprised to hear that lots of partnerships were born through social media interactions. Yes, that’s true. In the social space are lots of businesses & professionals who seek to connect with those who are likeminded a perfect example is the LinkedIn platform. 5. It can boost customer loyalty If a brand runs a lively social media account and thoroughly engages with users in a friendly, caring and not-too-official manner, such brand is sure to get loyal customers. We are emotional beings and crave to be connected. Summary and Tips: There are many new platforms to manage, one of the suggestions is to use a Management company like White Label Marketing to help manage and boost your engagement. Summary and Tips: Creating contents, engaging conversations and promoting the humor is more likely to increase brand loyalty than a serious, formal and or boring post. The Veterans Chamber of Commerce Radio Show • Share your story with our Veteran Community? Be our guest on the show REQUEST FORM. www.vccsd.org/radioshow.html • If you have any ideas or a project that you would like to develop in collaboration with the National Veterans Chamber send us your idea to: veteransccsd@gmail.com


VETERANS

CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

VETERAN-FRIENDLY NETWORK About the Program

Veteran-Friendly Directory

Licensed Agents and Lenders working with local Community Groups, Military Bases and Non-Profit Organizations to help Military Families achieve the American Dreamof Homeownership.

Jim Sagona, Realtor Military/ Veteran- Friendly Agent DRE #01921622 (619) 665.6938 JamesRSagona@gmail.com Platinum California Realty DRE #02112380

These Veteran-Friendly Agents and Lenders have a strong passion for supporting our Military/Veteran Families

Deborah Kemp (310) 903-7877 deborahkemp1@gmail.com Military-Veteran Friendly Agent DRE#00988086

Dan Leonard (562) 762-7511 www.endeavormtgteam.com Veteran-Friendly Lender Orange County - Inland Empire

Barry University College Credit for Military Service, visit:

www.vccsd.org/barry To join the Veteran-Friendly Network visit: www.vccsd.org/veteran-friendly-agents.html

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / July 2021

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legal Eagle Straight-forward legal tips for Military and Veteran Business Owners By Kelly Bagla, Esq.

WHAT IS A COPYRIGHT? There is much confusion around what people can trademark or copyright. A copyright is a type of legal protection given to content creators and artists. When a person creates a story, a work of art, or a piece of software, the copyright provides legal ownership of the work. The creator receives exclusive rights to the use and distribution of the work for a set amount of time.

For any of these works to qualify for a copyright, they must meet what the law describes as “some minimal degree of creativity.” What Is Not Eligible for Copyright Claim? The primary areas where someone cannot claim copyright status are: • Facts

What Is Eligible for a Copyright?

• Ideas

The following works are eligible for a copyright:

• Systems

• All literary works: These include short stories, poems, newspaper articles, blogs, plays, and reference materials.

• Methods of Operation

Which Protections Does a Copyright Give?

• Artistic works: These include drawings, paintings, pictures, and sculptures.

Think of a copyright as your ownership of something that you’ve created. Whether you take a picture, write a short story, or compose a piece of music, it’s your work. A copyright gives you legal protection over that creation.

• Technical Drawings

As the copyright owner, only you have the right to:

• Advertisements • Architecture

• Films • Television shows • Podcasts • Choreography • Musical compositions • Concerts and other live performances • Computer software

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• Reproduce the Work: You can make copies of the content you created. You may distribute your work as you see fit. • Create Other Works Based on the Original Work: For example, you may want to combine a series of blog posts into a book. • Display the Work in Public: When you create art, you may want others to look at it. Your painting, statue, or installation is yours to show wherever you like.


Go Legal Yourself ®

• Ability to sell copies of your work:

Know Your Business Legal Lifecycle

You can profit from your copyrighted idea by selling it.

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• Perform the Work in Public: When you write music, a book, a play, or anything else you can display in public, you have the right to do so. For example, you have the right to play your own music at a concert. You as the content creator with a copyright hold these rights for a period of time. You cannot lose them unless you legally give them up. You own the rights to your works in the same way that you own your house or car. Nobody else can use any of it without your express permission. How Long Does a Copyright Last? The time limit for a copyright depends on the date of the work. Anything created after January 1, 1978, has a copyright for the life of the author plus 70 years.That means that a person who dies tomorrow would have a copyright on their work for 70 years and one day. Does a Person Have to Register a Copyright? No, creating the work automatically gives a person a copyright. Registration of the copyright is voluntary. A person may register their work at any point during the timeframe when their work is eligible for copyright. Still, official registration lets the creator:

Award-winning attorney, Kelly Bagla shows you how to avoid legal pitfalls FROM DAY ONE! The last thing an entrepreneur wants is to spend valuable time and resources on legal issues, which is why they often drop to the bottom of the pile. But this can be a COSTLY MISTAKE—and Go Legal Yourself is here to make sure it’s one you avoid.

• Have a public record of their copyright claim • File an infringement lawsuit in court For more information on how to legally start and grow your business please visit my website at www.BaglaLaw.com

• • • •

Disclaimer: This information is made available by Bagla Law Firm, APC for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, and not to provide specific legal advice. This information should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

Gather the right documentation Protect your brand Avoid expensive legal pitfalls Plan and manage growth competatively

Rest assured that no nasty legal surprises will stand between you and your success.

www.GoLegalYourself.com

Get your copy at amazon today!

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / July 2021

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Legally Speaking Military Focused Family Law Facts By Tana Landau, Esq.

Tips for Financial Independence After Divorce While life after divorce can be a new beginning, the process of going through a divorce can be emotionally and financially difficult for many people. Whether you live in a dual income household or are a stay at home parent, divorce often means a change in your financial circumstances. Many people struggle to adjust to a change in their standard of living or fail to anticipate many financial issues that arise during a divorce. Establishing financial independence after divorce is often a difficult process for many divorcing individuals.

There are steps you can take to set yourself up for financial success following your divorce. Here are some tips to help seek financial independence:

6) Consult a financial advisor. There are many certified divorce financial analysts (CDFA) who can help you maximize the assets received in a divorce.

1) If a divorce is likely, proactively gather all important financial records and copy and store them in a safe place. This is particularly important if you are not the spouse who handled the finances during your marriage.

7) If you have been out of the work force, proactively take steps to obtain training or education necessary to reenter the work force or increase your income.

2) Check your credit report. 3) Look at your tax returns, bank and retirement statements, and any investment accounts you have. Knowing these financial figures will help you see how many resources are available. 4) Consider opening a checking/savings or credit card account in your name only to begin separating your finances and build your own independent credit. 5) Develop a financial budget reflecting the assets, debts, income and expenses you will have post-divorce. A mistake many individuals make during a divorce in establishing financial independence is that they live beyond their means. 44

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There are many common mistakes that people make during a divorce which can impact their financial independence post-divorce. These are some of the mistakes too be mindful of if you are going through a divorce: 1) Over-estimating the amount of child or spousal support that will be received: You should consult with an attorney so that you have a realistic expectation for the amount of income you will have from child or spousal support. 2) Under-estimating the cost of a divorce: A divorce can be costly. It is important to have good legal counsel which comes with a price.


Time for a Fresh Start.

If your divorce involves contested child custody issues or complex financial issues such as business valuations, you can expect to incur additional expert and legal fees.

Move forward without breaking the bank. Our military expert family law attorneys are ready to push your case to the finish line.

3) The cost of health insurance: If you have been covered by your spouse and have also been out of the work force, you may be unaware of the costs to obtain your own health insurance. This is often a shock to most people when they are forced to obtain their own independent policy. Your spouse will not be able to remove you from their policy while your divorce action is still pending. It is important to research early before your divorce judgment is entered so you can be prepared for the financial impact of the costs of health insurance. 4) Being unaware of all your marital debt: Many people fail to consider that it isn’t just the assets that are divided in a divorce but the debt as well. It is not uncommon for one party in a marriage to be unaware of debt incurred by the other party. Many people fail to realize that debt in the other party’s name alone does not make it their own debt in a divorce. It is important to know the type and total amount of all debts incurred during the marriage.

Military Divorce and Retirement, 20/20/20 Spouse, Survivor Benefit Plans, Support Orders, and more.

5) Not considering the inability to keep the family home: Realistically, you may not be able to keep the residence from your marriage. In some situations, it may be necessary to sell the home to pay off the debts from the marriage to set the parties up in the best financial situation. Don’t make the mistake of living beyond your means as far as housing goes. Consider the fact that you may have to downsize for the time being. 6) Returning to the work force: If you have been a stay at home parent or spouse, do not go into a divorce believing you can rely on support indefinitely. Be prepared to take proactive steps to obtain any necessary job training or further education to put yourself into a position to become self-supporting and financially independent.

No nonsense. No hidden fees. Discounts for service members.

Call 858-720-8250 or visit www.frfamilylaw.com to schedule a free consultation.

Since a divorce can unravel both parties’ finances, it is important to take steps to take control of your financial future and have realistic expectations of what life looks like financially after divorce. The best way to achieve your goals and rebuild your financial independence is to have a solid plan to work from.

Flat-fee law packages available.

For more information about financial independence in your military divorce, check out our website: www.frfamilylaw.com or call (858) 720-8250 and ask to speak with military family law attorney Tana Landau.

This article is intended only for informational purposes and should not be taken as legal advice.

Legal Experts with Humanity

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / July 2021

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Money Matters

Expert Advice on VA Lending & Personal Finance By Phil Jawny, MIRM, CMP, CSP

Booming Housing Market Gives Military Families New Options Question: How Can Military Families Benefit from the Booming Housing Market? Answer: The U.S housing market gained close to $2.5 trillion in value in 2020 — the most significant increase since 2005. Some states saw an increase of nearly 8%, and 2021 is projecting an even higher increase. What does that mean for you as a homeowner? This increase in equity is possibly one of your most valuable assets. This year many homeowners used their equity asset by doing a refinance that allowed for cash to be taken out of the home. For those that haven’t gotten into the “Refi Boom,” rates are still extremely low and the potential savings per month on average are close to $250. That’s $3,000 a year and $90,000 over the 30-year lifetime of the mortgage – this sum of savings could fund your home repairs, vacations, investment portfolio or college savings. Owning a home allows for secure savings, especially as home values continue to increase and monthly savings compound by reducing your interest rate with a refinance. The 411 on VA Mortgage Financing Current or former military members have the opportunity to take advantage of a full suite of benefits through a VA Mortgage. With low interest rates and flexible lending guidelines, the VA Loan was specifically created to benefit the military community. Who is Eligible for a VA Loan? To be eligible, you must meet one of the conditions below: • Active duty or honorably discharged veteran • Served over six years in the National Guard or Selected Reserve • Surviving spouse of a service member who passed in active duty and spouse has not remarried

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Benefits of Using Your VA Loan Qualifying for a VA mortgage provides a host of benefits and working with a VA loan expert who understands the unique conditions around a VA loan will ensure you get the most out of your loan. The benefits are many: • May not need a down payment • No maximum loan limit *county/city loan limits do apply • Typically provides lower interest rates than Conventional or FHA financing • Lower closing costs • Qualify with lower credit scores and higher debt to income ratios than other loan types • No monthly mortgage insurance • Use your VA loan multiple times Like other traditional mortgage programs, a VA mortgage requires an underwriter to review and evaluate your income, debts, and financial and related documents. This review ensures program eligibility and protects your financial wellbeing.


What About Refinancing Your Current VA Loan? The “Streamline” Loan Makes it Easier A VA mortgage allows you to maximize your equity or take advantage of a lower interest rate to reduce your payments. Also known as an “IRRL” interest rate reduction loan, the “Streamline” is a popular refinance option among current VA borrowers. When current interest rates are lower than the rate you secured on your mortgage, your VA loan expert can help you take advantage of a VA IRRL to lower your rate and save on your monthly payment. In many cases, your term will not change. For example, if you have been paying your 30-year fixedrate mortgage for ten years, you could streamline it into a 20-year mortgage. With the lower rate, you could possibly have the same or lower payments and still pay off your mortgage in the same amount of time. “Cash-Out” Options If you’ve considered renovating your home and building that home office that you desperately need or allowing your home equity to pay off any high-interest credit cards, the refinance is the way to leverage your equity for those needs. Because home values have increased dramatically, the equity in your property can provide the buying power you need.

Change Your Financial Outlook in 2021

What GoVALoans.com will do for you: As VA mortgage experts, GoVALoans.com has a team of originators and mortgage support staff to help you achieve your mortgage goals no matter where you are around the world. These experts will:

Put Your VA Loan Benefit to Work! Are you taking advantage of all your VA benefits? Our team of experts is here to share advice and guide you down the path toward financial stability. One conversation can set you on the best financial path.

• Guide you through every step of the process • Provide education to empower you and your decisions • Leverage real estate relationships to help with contract negotiation • Secure the lowest rates possible

So what are you waiting for? Contact us today!

• Provide a seamless closing You have earned the benefits of the VA Mortgage. Still have questions? Our experts are here to serve you with free credit counseling or refinance support to get the most of out your home investment.

www.GoVALoans.com

Contact us at info@govaloans.com.

@GoVALoans

info@govaloans.com (833) 825-6261

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / July 2021

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READY TO TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR CAREER? Talk to our friendly veterans admissions counselor today! admissions@icohs.edu (858)581-9460 www.icohs.edu Become a certified IT professional in 15 weeks with no prior experience necessary!

Why ICOHS College?

Career Outcomes:

• GI Bill & MyCAA Approved

• Technical Support Specialist

• Flexible Schedule

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• Network Administrator

• Small Class Size

• Network Analyst

• Hands-on Training

• Systems Administrator

• Lifelong Job Placement and Career

The median IT job salary in the US was about $88,000 last year.

Counseling

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PREPARE FOR YOUR CALL TO SERVE {

Become a military chaplain by earning a MASTER OF DIVINITY degree {

Proven record of more than 200 chaplain graduates

IN-PERSON OR ONLINE agts.edu/chaplaincy

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BEFORE SERVED HONORABLY.

Workshops for Warriors is a nonprofit school that provides veterans and transitioning service members with hands-on training and nationallyrecognized credentials in CNC machining, CAD/CAM programming, and welding. Our students earn credentials that open doors to jobs anywhere in the U.S. Call us at (619) 550-1620.

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AFTER EARNED A CAREER IN JUST 4 MONTHS. ENROLL NOW AT WFW.ORG CAD/CAM Programming CNC Machining Welding DoD SkillBridge Organization


WHAT’S NEXT?

BECOME A CRANE OPERATOR Skillbridge Approved

Discover an exciting new career opportunity after serving your country. Heavy Equipment Colleges of America proudly supports and honors the brave women and men who fight for our country. • VA education benefits and Career Skills Program (CSP) • Job placement help and hands-on, classroom interaction • Get certified in as little as three weeks

Veteran Only Locations

Joint Base Lewis McChord in Lakewood, WA | Ft. Irwin, CA (active duty, too) Phone: 760-383-1030 | Email: ftirwin@hecofa.com

TRAIN TO BECOME A CRANE OPERATOR TODAY. Visit: www.heavyequipmentcollege.com No Official US Government or DOD endorsement is implied

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Opportunities in Law Enforcement You’ve served your country, now serve your community!

Military and law enforcement have had a longstanding relationship with overlaps in training exercises, equipment, and, most important, personnel. It is not uncommon for a service member to make the jump from the military to law enforcement as both professions look for the same characteristics; leadership, fidelity, chain of command, and teamwork are all common themes in both professions. Quite understandably, many American military veterans often gravitate to a career in law enforcement when the time comes to rejoin the civilian workforce.

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The two professions have many fundamental similarities; from the uniforms they wear with pride, to the firm command structure they serve under, to great personal risk they endure while protecting those who cannot protect themselves. The following agencies are actively hiring & proudly support our veterans, active military and the families that keep together.


Military service can be a perfect entrance into a law enforcement career.

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Celebrate Freedom! Hand over your small business burdens. www.bandofhands.com For only $10/week per employee: Job Board & Automated Recruiting

Payroll & Tax Services

HR Services

Employer of Record

Onboarding & Compliance

Time & Attendance

Contact Eve Nasby, Band of Hands president and passionate military supporter to get started today. eve@bandofhands.com 58

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Resources Support Transition HEALTH INSPIRATION

Homeland Magazine www.HomelandMagazine.com

Voted 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020 BEST resource, support media for veterans, military families & military personnel. 60

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / July 2021


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